By Geoff Irvine, CEO on Tuesday, January 03, 2017

By Geoff Irvine, CEO, Chalk & Wire

2017 will be the year that more institutions dip their toes in the alternative credentialing and badging lake. IMS Global’s involvement in open badges adds obvious heft to the acceleration and the adoption of the Open Badges Standard. This will in turn drive developers in the field to standardize, enhance, and automate highly portable, integrated, micro-credentialing solutions as 2017 unfolds.

Some schools, pressed by low enrollments and/or poor retention, and a desire to leap frog their competition will pick up the tools to motivate millennial students, hungry for more frequent, slickly packaged, success-hits than the macro-credential degree is offering.

Others will be working to re-package their courses into clusters and to offer them up to a large number of non-traditional, older students as professional development solutions. Aside from the obvious time and financial saving to the learners, this approach maintains the status quo at the faculty and course level. This is the more likely trend than the tear-downs and reconstructions required by those who are very serious about competency-based education.

Others will have different, less curricular motives, and will center their efforts at both ends of their institutional lifecycle: admissions, working to get a better holistic picture of applicants. At the other end, student services/life departments may see value for the technology and its underlying concept of tracking skills in context. They may hand the badging power tool over to their career services people who have been striving hard with little budget.

These early-adopter institutions will be wagering on differentiation points by innovating to attract and keep students, while their more conservative peers look on with interest.

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